A Travellerspoint blog

October 2017

Jelenia Góra: The Town

Panoramic view from Baszta Zamkowa

Church of Grace

Jelenia Góra is a small town in the far Southwest of Lower Silesia - in fact not so small, as it has grown to a population of 80,000 including the suburbs. Its name is Hirschberg in German, Jelenia Góra in Polish – an exact translation of the same name, which means “stag mountain”. Hence the stag in the town’s coat of arms.

It is the gateway to the famous Karkonosze (Riesengebirge) mountains. Its surroundings include the Valley of Palaces, where noble and rich people built their summer palaces in the 19th century.

Glass stag in Rynek

All this must be beautiful to visit. However, I only had a few hours and no car, so I focused on the town itself.

To me, the main attraction was the Church of Grace, one of the seven churches that the Habsburg rulers permitted to be built in Silesia after 1709. It is a fantastic example what Lutheran church architects can do. The interior is jaw-droppingly beautiful.
This church will be granted a separate blog entry to do it justice.

I am squeezing my report into this blog although I did not visit from Wrocław. In fact I came over for the day from the German side for the day, from Görlitz, where I was staying for a couple of days.

In recent years a direct train connection has been re-established, so it is easy to hop over for the day. Direct trains run only every 3-4 hours, though, and connections to Zgorzelec on the Polish side are not too frequent either, so this needs some preplanning.

Practical hint:


Euro Nisa (Euro-Neiße) ticket is a day pass for all local transport in the triangle where Poland, Germany and the Czech Republic are bordering. It comes in a single and in a small group version.
Map and more details: http://www.zvon.de/en/EURO-NEISSE-tickets/
Prices differ from country to country, which I consider unfair. While in Poland it costs 25 PLN, in Germany it’s 13 €, twice as much. When boarding the train in Görlitz, however, there is no ticket machine in the entire station. Tickets must be bought from the conductor on board the train – and so I was charged the Polish price.
To look up connections, the German website www.bahn.com can be used. For connections in Poland, however, I’d rather use the Polish railways’ route planner in http://www.rozklad-pkp.pl/. (I am sure that there is a Czech one, too.)

Panorama of Jelenia Góra from the train


I caught the first direct train at seven something in the morning – luckily I was staying very close to the railway station in Görlitz – and arrived, after happily trying my Polish on the conductor (successfully) and a fellow passenger (with mixed success), in Jelenia Góra already at a quarter past nine. It was a cloudy day and the famous Karkonosze mountains remained invisible, only on the return journey I caught a glimpse of their silhouette in the distance. But it stayed dry for most of the day. The forecast had been much worse than the actual weather. Hence I still consider myself lucky.

The Lutheran Church of Grace is located halfway into town by the main street, so this was my first port of call. The church was to open at 10. There is loads to see around it, though, not only the sculptures and epitaphs on its walls but most of all the former cemetery. Burial chapels of the town’s leading families are lined up along its wall. The time until the church opened was thus well filled.

After seeing the church, I continued walking into the centre. Jelenia Góra is one of those typical small towns in Silesia. The old town has a more or less oval outline. Its centre is the rectangular main square (Rynek) with the town hall and a block of houses in the middle. The main parish church is not in Rynek but in its own square off its corner. Walls and ramparts surrounded the town, of which some leftovers are preserved.

The walk from the train station into town is really easy, all you have to do is follow ul. 1 Maja (First of May Street) straight into the centre. It leads past the Church of Grace, then transforms into a pedestrian zone with many shops.

Through Wojanowska gate it enters the old town. The medieval town gate has been substituted by a baroque one in the 18th century. The round tower next to it is a remain of the medieval fortification, as well as the church of Saint Anna next to it.

The little church has a baroque interior – as people were gathering to pray the rosary, I could not take photos inside, though.

Church of St Anna, Tower and gate - and a visitor with Australian origins


One block before reaching Rynek I came across an interesting bit of modern architecture: a rhythmic row of post-war townhouses, inserted into the grid of the medieval ground plan and adapted to its structure. They’re not one big block but rather small cubic entities that match the size of the historical houses.



Rynek, the main square, is just a short walk ahead. The square is surrounded by the gables of the wealthy citizens’ townhouses. Facades date from the late 17th and 18th century – reconstructed after damage in World War II, though. They all have arcades along the ground floor, so there is a covered passage round the whole square (and plenty of photo options). Shops and restaurants are hidden underneath. Benches and flower beds give it an inviting look. A pleasant spot to hang out.


The middle of the square is occupied by the town hall, a baroque building from the 1740s. It substituted an older predecessor which had collapsed. Inscriptions in Latin refer to the legendary foundation of the town in the year 1108 by a certain duke named Bolesław, nicknamed Krzywousty (Wrymouth) – poor fellow. The adjacent so-called “Seven Houses” (they’re really seven) have been occupied by the municipal administration about 100 years ago.

An old tram in the square, now hosting a souvenir shop, is a reminder of those times when trams rattled through the narrow streets of the old town.

The tourist information office is located in the southwestern corner of the square. A map of the town and a leaflet with a self-guided walking tour and detailed explanations of the sights can be obtained there for free.

Jelenia Góra is prepared for tourists. There are restaurants with outdoor seating, souvenir shops, stalls selling pottery from Bolesławiec, boards with explanations of the sights in four languages. However, on this October day it was rather calm. Cafes and restaurants were almost empty. I heard a lot of German in the streets, though. The town gets is share of day visitors from across the borders. In summer as well as during winter ski season it will certainly be much busier.

Billy Joe the little wombat explores the town

Baszta Zamkowa

Baszta Grodzka

The western end of the old town has two historical towers, once part of the 15th century town fortifications. While Baszta Grodzka has been turned into a residential house and can be seen from the outside only, Baszta Zamkowa, the “Castle Tower”, is open to visitors.


The tower is open from 10 a.m. to late afternoon, the hour of closure depends on the season. Entry is free. There are neither guards nor tickets, you simply walk in and climb the stairs. The stairs are newly built from very solid and trustworthy looking timber. I was hesitant at first because I suffer from fear of heights, but despite being semi-transparent due to lack of risers, they were easily doable for me. Inside the tower, each stair is just half a round to cover one storey, then there is a solid platform before the next stair begins. Thus no scary depths underneath.
View from the first platform
The tower has two viewing platforms, or rather galleries. The first one is no higher than the roofs of the surrounding houses and the view is limited. The upper gallery rises above the rooftops and offers a nice view over the old town and the suburbs, over the surrounding hills and, in theory also to the Karkonosze mountains, as I guess from the signs that explain the panorama. Low clouds deprived me of the mountain view, so I can only assume that they are there...

DSC00998.jpg Where are the mountains?DSC01002.jpg ... where??
DSC00999.jpg Modern suburbs



Returning into town, I arrived just in time for a quick look into the main catholic church, the large Basilica of Saint Erasmus and Pankratius (Bazylika świętego Erazma i świętego Pankracego). They close at midday for one hour between 1 and 2 p.m. and I arrived just in time for a quick look inside.


A convent is attached to the church, and one of the nuns is there to keep guard and explain the church to visitors. There was too little time left, though. I had considered to return in the afternoon and test my language skills (ha, ha), but in the end I opted for the museum instead – more below.

The church is a gothic basilica from the 14th century with a tall steeple that dominates the town’s skyline together with the tower of the city hall. Its interior has been refurbished in the 18th century and equipped with new altarpieces, pulpit and organ. The Lutheran Church of Grace was already finished, and the Jesuits, who were in charge of the catholic parish church, clearly had some ambition to compete with them. The main altar in particular has been designed and ornated with all possible splendour. Some interesting epitaphs and tombstones are attached to the outside of the walls.



Since I was alone and all restaurants looked rather deserted, I did not go for lunch but had a break on a bench in Rynek, eating and drinking from the supplies in my rucksack.

In the meantime the clouds had lifted and a bit of sunshine appeared.

The wombats and I took some more photos in Rynek and enjoyed observing a gang of sparrows roaming the square.

Jeleniogórskie wróbly na Rynku - the sparrow gang


As the next train back to Görlitz was only due some three hours later, the afternoon had to be filled. Studying the map of the town and the distances, I chose Muzeum Karkonoskie, a museum about the history and culture of the town and surrounding area. It is outside the centre, about 15 or 20 minutes walk from Rynek.

Art nouveau theatre

The walk leads along the ring road that surrounds the old town first, then through residential streets. These parts of the town have come through the war remarkably well. The streets are lined with villas and townhouses from the late 19th and early 20th century.

There is a remarkable amount of art nouveau architecture in Jelenia Góra (the museum just had an exhibition on this, in fact), including the theatre.




Muzeum Karkonoskie is based on the collection of the pre-war Riesengebirgsverein, whose aims were promoting tourism as well as wildlife conservation and the protection of cultural heritage. One of their treasures is a large collection of decorative glass from ancient to contemporary. The ground floor shows local culture in former centuries. A wooden peasant cottage from the mountains has been transferred and set up in the foyer. The exhibition on the town’s history shows, which was of particular interest to me, the original model of the Church of Grace by the architect Martin Frantz from 1709.


Part of the exhibition presents the new, difficult beginning of Jelenia Góra as a Polish city after World War II, the origins of the Polish settlers who moved in, and the communist era. However, I could not help but notice that history is presented in a rather one-sided way. There is no mentioning that the Poles from the lost territory in the East did not move out of their own free will.

There is further no mentioning of the expulsion of the previous, German, population at the end of the war. The German Silesians are reduced to folklore and folk art, and a bit of industry. Then, in 1945, they suddenly and magically disappear into thin air – poof. Gone they are.


Injustice remains injustice, violence remains violence, no matter who does it to whom and under what kind of excuses. It should be named as what it is.

I’d appreciate a fairer, more open-minded and more balanced approach to the different sides of history – like, for example, in the City Museum in Wrocław which I cannot recommend too much.

There are some more “howevers” to this museum. The first storey has a glass floor across the entrance hall. Impossible to cross for people with fear of heights. I wonder who designed this.

And I am no fan of overzealous museum guards who run after you and talk your ears off, inviting you to go here and there and see this and that. At some point I decided to leave earlier than I had planned because this lady was too much for me to bear.

Practical hints:

Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday 9.00 – 17.00
Entrance fee: adults 10 PLN, children 5 PLN
On Wednesdays it’s free (and lucky me happened to visit on a Wednesday)!!!

Exhibition of decorative glass

Posted by Kathrin_E 05:45 Archived in Poland Tagged silesia jelenia_gora Comments (2)

Ultimate Lutheran Baroque: Church of Grace in Jelenia Góra


Protestant churches are all bland and simple? Come on! No, they’re not… One of the most remarkable examples of Lutheran baroque church architecture and art can be found in Jelenia Góra.


After the 30 Year War and the Westphalian Peace Treaty, the Protestants of Silesia had been allowed to build a total of 3 (three) churches by the Catholic Habsburg rulers. These were the so-called Peace Churches in Świdnica (Schweidnitz), Jawor (Jauer) and Głogów (Glogau). The ones in Świdnica and Jawor are still standing. I have visited both and intend to present them in this blog at some point.

However, it is not difficult to imagine that three churches are not very many for a whole country, to put it mildly. Some 60 years later the Emperor was forced to make more concessions. The Altranstädt Convention in 1707, a treaty with the Swedish King that ended the Nordic War, granted the Silesian Lutherans the building of six more churches. These still had to be built outside the towns, but the previous restrictions (perishable materials like wood and clay, no steeples, no representative architecture on the outside, etc.) were lifted. These new churches became known as Churches of Grace. The “grace” was expensive, though, as high sums had to be paid in return to the Emperor as well as the Swedish king.

Katarina kyrka in Stockholm

The citizens of Hirschberg acted quickly. They employed the architect Martin Frantz from Legnica (Liegnitz) to design a church after the model of Katarina kyrka in Stockholm: a building in the shape of a Greek cross with a dome and lantern in the middle. Works began in 1709. After nine years the new church was inaugurated in 1718.

The architect’s original model is preserved in Museum Karkonoskie.

After World War II and the expulsion of the German population, hardly any Lutherans were left. The Church of Grace became the Catholic Parish Church of the Elevation of the Cross and Garrison Church. The Catholics did not change much, though. The Lutheran iconography with its biblical images was perfectly suitable. A tabernacle and the eternal light were added to the main altar. Side chapels were equipped with additional altars, reliquaries, a couple of new paintings and stained-glass windows themed on catholic saints. Pope John Paul, of course. The “Jezu ufam Tobie” image, and the church even owns a relic of Saint Sr Faustina, the one who had the vision (see my blog entry on The Divine Mercy Image: https://wroclaw-kathrin-e.travellerspoint.com/76/). But otherwise, the church remained as it was. It had survived the war more or less unharmed, so what you see is indeed original!

The altar and the organ are combined into one magnificent front in the choir of the church.

Details of altar and organ: the allegory impersonating Silesia, and putti playing drums - these are real drums and they are able to sound.

Nave and galleries. The church has 4,000 seats and standing room for 6,000 more.


The pulpit

The central fresco in the vaulted ceiling

Practical hints:


Opening hours: April 1 – October 31
Monday – Thursday and Saturday 10:00 – 16:00
Friday 12:00 – 16:00

Entrance: through Punkt pielgrzymkowy, the information desk for pilgrims and visitors, in the western wing

Entrance fee: 4 PLN or 1 €

Photography without flash permitted, no extra fee.

Churchyard, park and cemetery are accessible all day for free.

More on the website of the parish: http://www.kosciolgarnizonowy.pl/ (in Polish)

Frescoes on the ceiling

Fake architecture. the perspective works correctly only from one single spot - but the perfect photo cannot be taken because the chandelier gets in the way.

Jacob's Dream: angels climbing up and down the ladder into the sky

Ascension of Christ

Adoration of the Holy Trinity. This fresco is placed in the choir above the altar.

Posted by Kathrin_E 10:17 Archived in Poland Tagged silesia jelenia_gora Comments (1)

Jelenia Góra: The Cemetery Around Church of Grace

Where Hirschberg’s "Upper 10,000" were buried



The cemetery around the formerly Lutheran church is not active any more. The grounds have been transformed into a public park, accessible for free all day. A walk round the park should not be missed because of the baroque mausoleums.

Burial chapels of rich families are lined up along the wall that surrounds the cemetery. Some were noble, but most of them were wealthy citizens of the town. A monumental gravesite must have been a symbol of status. They were designed and decorated with all splendour, as this anecdote tells:


When the austere Prussian King Friedrich II (Frederick the Great) visited Hirschberg after his conquering of Silesia, he was very astonished to see all those little “palaces” around the church. He believed that these were little palaces where the citizens of the town spent their leisure time. First thing he did was forbidding such “unnecessary luxury”.


Hirschberg owed its wealth to the production and trade of cloth and veils. Cloth merchants had their tombstones decorated with stone-carved textiles, as if a veil or a curtain was hanging over the stone. Elaborate works of stone-masonry they are.



A closer look at the details is recommended. A couple of chapels are decorated in a rather macabre way.

Stone-carved skeletons, skulls and bones are part of the ornaments on the facades.

Skulls are inserted into the capitals of the columns together with the heads of little angels.

Dancing skeletons rise from stone pillars.



After long years of neglect, a recent project has taken to the restoration of the burial chapels and the preserved tombstones. The works were finished in 2013.

In addition to the chapels, tombstones and grave monuments not only from Jelenia Góra but also from the surroundings are on exhibit along the stretches of wall in between.

Explanations are provided in four languages (Polish, German, English and Czech).




A tombstone on the wall of the church tells us about the dramatic death of a preacher in the year 1745. Pastor Gottlob Adolph was standing on the pulpit holding the Sunday afternoon sermon when lightning struck the church. The heavy sounding board above the pulpit fell off and killed him. (Can’t help but wonder if this was a divine judgement? Were his sermons too long? Too boring? Too hard to understand?)

The tombstone is located on the southern wall of the choir, the one on the right in the photo.

Posted by Kathrin_E 00:59 Archived in Poland Tagged cemetery silesia jelenia_gora Comments (0)

The Church of Peace in Jawor



Jawor's main attraction is the so-called Church of Peace, one of three wooden churches that the Protestants of Silesia were allowed to build after the Peace Treaty of Westphalia in 1648. Two are preserved, this one and another in Swidnica, both have the status of World Heritage sites.

I was invited to visit the church together with some colleagues on a privately organized excursion, guided by a renowned specialist on protestant church architecture and art (insiders are welcome to guess who…). Since this topic is closely related to my own research and I had long wanted to see the church, this was a chance one does not refuse.

We did not have time to visit the town centre but I hear Jawor has a pretty market square and the town is worth a closer look, too.

Historical Background


The lore of Martin Luther and the Evangelical confession entered Silesia, and Jauer as it was named then, already in the 1520s. In the 16th century a large part of the population was protestant and a protestant preacher was installed in the town parish church. Being under the rule of catholic Habsburg caused problems, though. The 30 Year War brought an enforced recatholization, then several changes of religious denomination depending who currently occupied the town and the area. The war hit the area incredibly hard. Jawor only had 150 surviving inhabitants at the end.


With the Westphalia Peace Treaty of 1648 Silesia was confirmed as part of Bohemia and hence under Habsburg rule. The peace treaty also contained the stipulation that religious denominations had to be returned to the state they had been on January 1, 1624 - in other words, freedom of faith for the Protestants. Habsburg's approach to this was restrictive, though. Nevertheless a special article was added to the peace treaty which allowed the Protestants in Glogau, Jauer and Schweidnitz to build one church each, but outside the boundaries of the town.

In 1652 the small parish community of Jauer obtained the permission to build a „peace church“. Donations were collected all over Northern Germany and Denmark to fund the construction works, which were begun in April 1655 and finished already in the same year in December. Timberframe constructions can be erected in short time.




The stipulations in the Westphalia Peace Treaty and the conditions set by the Emperor required the church to be built entirely from wood. It was not permitted to have a steeple or look like a church from the outside. Timberframe architecture is usually applied for small to medium-sized buildings because of the construction's technical limitations.


This church, however, was to accommodate several thousands of Protestants not only from Jauer but from the whole principality. A building of notable size was needed. A technical challenge which the master builder, Albrecht von Saebisch, successfully coped with. For the insiders: The design follows the model of the Huguenot temple of Charenton outside Paris.

The church is a rectangular hall surrounded by galleries - two at first, later two more were added. A very short polygonal chancel indicates the position of the altar. The pews on the ground floor and the four galleries seat 6,000 (six thousand) people in total. The steeple on the side was added in 1709 upon special permission of Emperor Leopold I.

The Interior



The interior of the church is an overwhelming contrast to the plain outside. While the facades are simple timberframe structures with black beams and white plastered fields in between, inside the church all splendour unfolds. This is a Lutheran church, so figural paintings are allowed and actually wanted. The fronts of the galleries bear a cycle of paintings which depict the entire sequel of all important stories from the Old and New Testament and can well be used for didactic purposes. Walls, beams and ceilings are painted all over with ornaments in blue and white. The result is a festive hall to celebrate the service, hear about God's promise of salvation, pray and sing.


Restoration works are ongoing, currently there is scaffolding around the altar and on the galleries above it. This does not disturb the general impression too much, though. On a building of this size and artisitic quality there is always work to do.

To visit the interior there is an entrance fee of 10 PLN (I think) - we did not have to pay thanks to Pan Profesor who kindly but unmistakeably informed the lady behind the desk that his people, i. e. us, weren't tourists but a group of international experts (ha!).


Series of Biblical Images



The fronts of the two oldest galleries, now the second and fourth, have been painted with a long series of images. The lower row has pictures from the New Testament, the upper row scenes from the Old Testament. Above each painting the matching bible passage is given with its Latin abbreviation. The text below, in German and in golden Fractura letters, consists of verses which also refer to the content of the pictures and the message behind them: God's promise of salvation, and the rules for human behaviour.

This kind of iconography is in perfect accordance with Lutheran theology and is meant to teach and visualize its principles: sola gratia, sola fide, sola scriptura - God's grace alone, the faith alone, the Holy Scripture alone will save us.

Cycles of biblical images are frequent in Lutheran churches. However, the one in Jawor is extraordinary due to the sheer number of images - the church is huge, so there was a lot of room for images.

Local noble families of Lutheran confession supported the church with donations. Their coats of arms can be found on the first gallery, surrounded by symbolic pictures. They probably had their seats there, too. Guilds of craftsmen also made donations for the church. The shoemakers, for example, are mentioned on the third gallery (above the cash desk) - the picture of a boot with spur is also declared as a reference to the story of Boas in the book of Esther.

Defunct members of nobility, parsons and other V.I.P.s are commemorated in small epitaphs which are attached to the galleries.


On the Galleries


Access to the galleries is possible (though not really official – we got a special permission because we “were not tourists”) in the west of the church. The stairs lead to the first gallery underneath the organ. Originally there were only two galleries, the other two are later additions because more seats were needed. They have squeezed in as many benches as possible to accommodate the large community.

The room on the galleries thus has a very low ceiling, it is quite dark. From the back rows one has hardly any view of the church interior, let alone the preacher on the pulpit or at the altar. Listening and understanding what was said down there must have been almost impossible in pre-microphone times.


Altar and Pulpit



The early baroque altar is a work from the year 1672, almost two decades after the construction of the church. Retables like this were common in both Catholic and Lutheran churches. The iconography is Lutheran, though. The central painting shows Christ praying in Gethsemane and the angel with the chalice (unusual image because the three sleeping disciples, essential participants in the scene, are not shown). Above there is the dove which symbolizes the Holy Spirit. Three angel statues are placed on top, statues of Mose and John Baptist on either side. Instead of a predella (where a painzing of the Last Supper could be expected) there is a German inscription with quotes from the words of institution.


When we visited (August 2014), there were restoration works being done on the galleries behind the altar, so the retable was surrounded by scaffolding and protected with some plastic, and only partly visible.

The pulpit is two years older than the altar. It was created in 1670 by a sculptor from Liegnitz. These dates tell of the financial struggle the parish was facing despite the rich donations they received: Having the two most important pieces of furniture for the service, altar and pulpit, made in a worthy quality of arts and crafts took them more than 15 years.

The pulpit is carried by a large angel who is holding an open book with the inscription, „The eternal gospel“. On top of it there is a smaller figure of Christ resurrected.

The stair for the preacher is closed with a wooden door which is also richly ornated. The inscription on the door reminds him to preach „according to law and testimony“, a quote from the book of Isaiah. The door ist dated 1671.

Painted Ornaments



Some details are easily overlooked, but they add a lot to the atmosphere. All surfaces of walls and ceilings, and the structural elements except the fronts of the galleries, are painted with ornaments in blue and grey/black on whiteish ground. They resemble the patterns on Durch tiles, which were very popular in that era. There are akanthus leaves and other plants and fruit, even some little angels. The ceiling has a patterns that resembles clouds, and a gilded sun in the middle. These are patterns and shapes which were done in threedimensional stucco in other churches, finances permitting - here the funds allowed no more than painting.

The beams of the timberframe construction were also painted blue, and decorated with painted 'buds' to make them appear like living wood.


The Peace Church in Świdnica is larger and perhaps even more spectacular. Nevertheless the one in Jawor has my preference. Maybe because it is lighter. Maybe also because I like the colour blue?


Posted by Kathrin_E 00:30 Archived in Poland Tagged churches history silesia Comments (1)




Świdnica 's main attraction is the so-called Church of Peace, one of three wooden churches that the Protestants of Silesia were allowed to build after the Peace Treaty of Westphalia in 1648. Two are preserved, this one and another in Jawor, the third one in Glogów is gone.

I visited both Churches of Peace in August 2014 on a privately organized excursion. We went to Jawor first – see previous blog entry -, then to Świdnica. After the visit to the church we still had time for a quick walk into town and a coffee break.


Świdnica is located in Silesia, until 1945 this was a German town with German population. The German name is Schweidnitz. The general impression of Świdnica is a smallish, off the beaten path country town that would not see any tourists if it weren't for nostalgic homeland tourism from Germany. And for its World Heritage site, the Church of Peace.

Church of Peace



In 1652 the protestant community of Schweidnitz received permission to build a wooden church outside the town walls, under the condition that the construction works would not take any longer than one year. Master builder Albrecht von Saebisch from Breslau designed a cross-shaped church that accommodates 7,500 people. Works started in August 1656, and already in June 1657 the new church was inaugurated.

In the wars between Prussia and Austria of the mid-18th century the church suffered some damage. But apart from that, it has survived the centuries remarkably well, including World War II and the communist era.

The church has already been presented in an earlier entry about a “Churching Excursion” in Lower Silesia, which we did in fall 2015 during a conference in Wrocław. That was my second time I visited Świdnica. Hence there is no need to repeat it all. I am skipping the church here.

The Town



This blog entry assembles a couple of photos that I took during a walk in the streets of the town centre. We were walking from the Church of Peace to the Rynek, then to the catholic church, and back, so these are random street views along the way. They give an idea of the general appearance.

This is no polished tourist destination but just a plain small town. The presence of several restaurants in Rynek with pretty outdoor seating indicate that this town gets its share of tourists, but most of them will hardly venture further than the Peace Church and the main square.

There is quite a lot of 19th century architecture in the streets of Swidnica. Unfortunately most of it is in rather bad shape.


Architecture from the communist era in between - at least they gave it a splash of colours.

When renovations have been done the houses look quite nice. If not, though...




Like most Silesian cities and towns, Świdnica has the typical Rynek, formerly named Ring. Just like in Wrocław, Oleśnica, Dzierżoniów, Jelenia Góra etcetera, the middle of the square is occupied by the town hall and a block of houses.

Some baroque buildings are preserved around the square. They have suffered from architectural sins, though – the shop fronts inserted into their ground floors show lack of taste and sense for historical monuments altogether.


In best Bohemian tradition, a baroque Trinity Column has been erected in the square. The fountains date from about the same era. The most remarkable fountain is the one with the statue of Neptune next to the Trinity Column.

The Catholic Cathedral



The main church in town is the large catholic one. The main Roman-Catholic church is now entitled Cathedral. Świdnica has become the seat of a bishop only in 2004, though. Previously it had simply been the town’s parish church of St Stanislaus and Wenzel (Kościół ŚŚ. Stanisława i Wacława). The church is prominently located in a wide square within the old town. The building dates from the late middle ages, then was repaired after a fire in the 1530. Until the 30 Year War it had been a protestant church for some decades. In 1660 it was given to the Jesuits who then refurbished the interior in baroque style.


It was already late in the afternoon and dusk was creeping in when we ran over to have a quick look at the church. Evening mass had just ended, and all we had were a few minutes in the darkening church. Thus, not only my photos but also my memories are rather dim.

The square outside has the inevitable statue of Pope John Paul II. Here he is depicted kneeling in veneration.


For visitors, there is another bronze in the square that may be more interesting: a model of the town. The coloration has been done by me – not in the original but only in the photo file;-) – to show the location of the two churches in relation to the structure of the town. The red area is the old town, with Rynek (marked in yellow) in the centre and, highlighted, the catholic church respective cathedral. The green area further west is the Lutheran churchyard with the Church of Peace outside the old town.

Posted by Kathrin_E 02:04 Archived in Poland Tagged silesia swidnica Comments (1)

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